Inspirational disabled racing driver Nicolas Hamilton, brother of F1 star Lewis, has test-driven the pioneering WHILL powerchair from TGA at the 2017 Mobility Roadshow (NAEC Stoneleigh, 1-3 June 2017).
Launched at this year’s Mobility Roadshow, WHILL from TGA is a pioneering electric wheelchair known as a ‘Personal Electric Vehicle’ (PEV). It is a stylish, compact and hi-tech powerchair that provides unique manoeuvrability with all-directional-drive front wheels and world-class performance. Developed in Japan by former Toyota and Nissan engineers, WHILL is a precision-built powerchair that provides greater accessibility through advanced driving capabilities. Each front wheel encompasses 24 ‘rings’ that can rotate sideways so WHILL turns without the need to pivot on a castor hence reducing the turning circle to a mere 71cm. WHILL has the power of 4-wheel-drive so tackling 3’’ kerbs, slopes and challenging terrain such as gravel and sand is no issue – a rare capability in powerchair design. Coupled with powered seat slide, ergonomic controls and bespoke postural support, WHILL represents a revolution in personal mobility and hence attracted the attention of Nicolas Hamilton at The Mobility Roadshow.
Nicolas was the celebrity VIP at the 2017 Mobility Roadshow and officially opened the event. He was given a guided tour around the show by Ann Frye, Chair of the organising charity, Mobility Choice, so Nic could engage with visitors and exhibitors. During his tour Nic visited the TGA stand and was given a WHILL demonstration by Daniel Stone, TGA Managing Director; Tim Ross, TGA National Sales Manager; and Eric Cooper, TGA Wheelchair Specialist. Nic was able to drive WHILL around the show and commented how comfortable it was.
Daniel Stone comments: “It was fantastic to meet Nicolas in person as I fully admire his achievements especially as my family has always had a keen interest in motorsport. We explained to Nic why our new WHILL is so different and the lifestyle benefits it delivers for style-conscious people of all ages. Nic enjoyed his experience in WHILL and was clearly impressed with the build quality. He was such an unassuming yet determined character; we wish him well for the rest of his racing season.”
In addition to Nicolas test driving the WHILL, Lamin Manneh, Invictus Games athlete and Roadshow Ambassador also had the opportunity to experience TGA’s new powerchair. Lamin is an ex-Irish Guard who lost both legs and one arm when injured on tour in Afghanistan. He rose to fame after appearing as one of the main recipients of a new fully accessible home adapted by DIY SOS during the ‘Homes for Veteran’s’ Special TV programme.
Lamin won two medals at the last Invictus Games and will be competing for Great Britain again this year in Toronto, Canada. Daniel Stone adds: “Lamin was also very impressed with WHILL. So much so he highlighted how our remarkable new product could give him greater independence at the next Invictus Games. He does currently use prosthetic legs for limited distances and a basic powerchair however WHILL would give him much more accessibility at the airport and games venue – helping him to conserve energy for the competition. As Lamin is a real inspiration and a gentleman, we are now in discussions about possibly loaning him a WHILL for the Games. He said he would be ‘honoured’ to represent Great Britain in a WHILL.”